Dr Ski Chilton — The Rewired Brain: Book review
The good news is that we have the capacity to “rewire” our brain by using those parts of the brain responsible for intentional choices to create new neural pathways to ultimately overrule those pathways caused by past experiences which can hold us in such bondage.
Skilton is a scientist who believes in God. He quotes or refers to many passages of scripture. He has been greatly influenced by CS Lewis and the book also has various quotes from this popular Christian author.
The premise of The Rewired Brain is that we do not live predetermined lives as victims of our circumstances, but can live a life of joy, fulfillment, good relationships and freedom from bondage if we so choose.
So much in scripture tells us exactly this. We are told to “renew our minds” (Romans 12), think on “whatever is lovely” (Phillipians 4), “be thankful in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5). In particular, the author emphasises that thankfulness has a very definite positive effect on our brain’s physiology. So we see science lining up with the Word of God, which is so often the case.
What makes this book very readable in my view is that Chilton writes openly and honestly about his own life — the events which led to his particular struggles and the way he has chosen to use his understanding of the mind to improve his thinking and behaviour, particularly in the area of relationships. One also senses his deep desire to use his knowledge and experience to make a difference in the lives of others.
So if you are seeking more of the abundant life that Jesus talks of in John 10, this book is well worth a read. It is important for us to grasp just how much our joy and effectiveness in life is dependant on how we choose to control our thought patterns.
A word of caution however: I do think that at least some cases of depression cannot be solely attributed to the dynamics mentioned in this book. In my understanding, it is possible that negative emotions (arising from chemical imbalance) can be the source of negative thoughts. In such case, it is at the very least extremely difficult, if not impossible, to control negative thinking. But it is useful to understand the extent to which we can be the authors of our own mental and emotional well-being and what can be done to help and encourage others, as well as ourselves.
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